Sick Leave is simply when a contact centre agent does not attend a scheduled shift due to illness.
What are the sick leave entitlements in Australia?
In Australia, most permanent contact centre agents get up to 10 paid sick days per year with any unused sick leave accruing into the following year.
Depending on the local workplace agreement or award, contact centre agents may need to provide a medical certificate to substantiate their illness.
In some contact centres, the requirement for a medical certificate only applies to sick leave of more than two consecutive days or for medical leave taken on a Monday, Friday or day proceeding a public holiday.
The idea is to let your sick leave accrue so in the event of serious illness or accident, you will still receive an income.
Perhaps with the often transient nature of contact centre workers where it is not seen a long-term career, some contact centre agents tend to exhaust their entitlements at any hint of an illness rather than thinking too far ahead.
Casual employees are typically not entitled to sick leave – the theory being they are paid a higher hourly rate in lieu of sick leave and annual leave entitlements.
Caution with sick leave
As most businesses do not pay out unused sick leave if an employee leaves their employment, it’s not uncommon for contact centre agents to suddenly start experiencing an increase in illness just before they resign.
There is also a very high correlation between low staff engagement and high sick leave.
If your workplace is experiencing high sick leave it’s often just the outcome from other factors happening within your centre.
When is the last time you conducted a staff satisfaction survey?
Recommended reading: Top 10 Tips for Reducing Absenteeism in your call centre.